Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Colossians 3:1-4

Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV)

 [3:1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


These verses contain 3 motivations to holiness in the life of the believer, none of which is: God will be mad at you if you don't. Motivation 1: You have been raised with Christ therefore seek those things which exist where Christ is. Motivation 2: You have died and your life is hidden in Christ therefore set your minds on things which exist where Christ is. Motivation 3: Christ is your life, and when he appears you will appear with him in glory.


Glory is not a place, it is a condition. I have often read "you also will appear with him in glory" to mean that I will be in Heaven, but that's not the meaning although that is true. The Glory of Christ is the outward expression of his greatness. God's glory is often expressed in the Bible as brilliant light. The glory of God was expressed at Sinai in flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder and a whole mountain shaking with his presence. The glory of Jesus was expressed on the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus appeared in clothing so brilliant that no laundry could match their whiteness. Matthew describes is like this: "And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light." (Mt 17:2) What is fascinating is that Moses and Elijah, who were with him, appeared in the same way.


1 John 3:2 says, "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." That is what this passage in Colossians is telling us. When Christ appears we will appear with him in the brilliance of his glory that he shares with us. One writer said that if we saw what we will look like in Heaven we would be tempted to bow down and worship us. We will not become gods nor will we be worshiped, but we will share the glory of Christ. What an incredible motivation to holiness here today. How can someone who will appear in the brilliant glory of Christ ever consider walking in darkness here today?


Father, today may my mind be set on things above. May I live as one who shares the glory of Christ for eternity.


By His grace,

Rick Weinert

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Colossians 2:16

Colossians 2:16 (ESV)

 [16] Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

This verse begins with the words, "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you." Verse 8 begins, "Let no one disqualify you." It is difficult to understand how someone else can disqualify you or how you can keep anyone from judging you. Then I remember the negative influence that Peter had on Barnabas in Galatians 2. Speaking of Peter's actions Galatians 2:13 says, "And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy." Perhaps Colossians 2:16 is not about controlling people's attitudes toward us, but about not allowing their attitude to influence our actions. "Let one pass judgment" then does not mean that we somehow must keep others from being judgmental. Rather, it means that we should not be influenced by their judgmental spirit to join in their legalistic approach to the Christian life.


It is amazing how easily we are influenced by the actions and attitudes of others. It is easy to reject the legalism or mysticism of someone if no one else around us is buying in to their deception. When everyone else is taken in by their teaching and/or influence we easily get sucked in also. When an influential child begins to tease or harass another child and all the other children join in even a child who would never normally do such a thing can easily get caught up in the teasing. Adults are really not that much different from children. Someone begins to tell about what a difference in their life some mystical practice has made and how they feel so much closer to God as a result and pretty soon we find individuals and then whole groups buying into their practices without testing it against the Word. Someone begins to passionately explain a new or lost truth they have discovered in the Scriptures that require some form of external legalism to earn God's favor and blessing and before long we are all teaching the necessity of this or that practice without discerning whether this is Christ or simply a "shadow of things to come."


Colossians 2:17 says, "These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ." It is so easy to get all caught up in the shadows and miss the real thing. Walking with God is not about shadow rituals or experiences, but about Christ who is the real thing. How many church divisions have occurred and judgmental wounds inflicted by shadows while both sides miss the substance? Father, forgive me for so easily getting caught up in the shadows. Today may I keep my eyes fixed on Christ who is the substance, the real thing.


By His grace,

Rick Weinert

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Colossians 2:6

Colossians 2:6 (ESV)

 [6] Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,


This verse gets us to the heart of the matter. How we ought to walk in Christ is determined by how we received Christ. The Colossians are being faced with teachers pushing Jewish legalism, asceticism, mysticism and angelic encounters. Their persuasive arguments suggest that somehow these things add to or enhance the faith of the Colossian Christians. How did they receive Christ? Colossians 1:4 says that Paul and his associates have been praying for the Colossians "since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints." They received Christ by faith which overflowed into love. No angelic visits. No circumcision or other aspects of Jewish law. No asceticism nor mysticism. Just faith. Faith is how they received Christ and faith is how they are to walk in him. Why is it that we always seem to think that once we are forgiven we then need to add something to our faith in order to grow? How can we add to the finished work of Christ?


My nephew told the story of watching a little boy climb up into his father's lap and hold his father's hands while Dad played the drums. That is what we are called to do. We are to climb up into our Father's lap and hold his hands while he produces the fruit of the Spirit. We're not doing it. He is. It is our place to rest in him and trust.


Father, thank you for your patience with me. Forgive me for the times I try to do on my own what only you can do through me. Today may I walk by faith.


By His grace,

Rick Weinert

Friday, February 7, 2014

Colossians 2:5

Colossians 2:5 (ESV)

[5] For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.


As Paul writes to the Colossians he wants to encourage them. The false teachers have been pushing their lies and distortions but evidently the Colossians have not yet fallen for them. There is still order to their worship and a firmness of faith in Christ. False teachings will undermine both of those. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, "all things should be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:40) An emphasis on Greek mysticism and angel worship would result in disorder. An emphasis on Jewish legalism and asceticism would result in an undermining of their firmness of faith. False teaching and distortion of truth leads toward disorder, weak faith or both.


Paul is warning the Christians of Colossae about false teachers but he is also encouraging them that they are not alone in the battle. His struggle is on their behalf. Epaphras struggle is on their behalf. They are loved. They are cared for and they have not been abandoned. It is much easier to stand firm in the faith when you know that you are not alone. When you know that whatever struggle, attack or issue you are facing in life you are not facing alone it is easier to stand firm. Moses, when he held his staff high as a sign of Israel's dependence on God, had help. Aaron and Hur stood on each side of him holding his hands up while they watched Joshua lead the armies in victory over the Amalekites. (see Exodus 17) Whose hands are you holding up today? Who is holding up your hands?


Father, thank you for those you have placed in my life as an encouragement and help. May I be an encouragement and help to those around me. May I not neglect to pray for them and to let them know that I care.


By His grace,

Rick Weinert

Reflections on Psalms 77-78

Psalms 77:7 (ESV) [7] “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?   The first nine verses of this psalm express abso...